“Purpose is fundamental to health, healing, longevity and happiness.”
– Richard Leider
After our basic physical needs (breathe, hydrate, nourish, sleep, move) and our emotional needs (connect) are met, what comes next? Achieving our higher purpose is fundamental to our existence.34 As humans, we are the only species with the potential to direct our behavior and set our goals under the direction of a higher purpose. What we achieve in life reflects our purposefulness, or our purposelessness. It turns out that achieving a passionate purpose, attaining related goals and contributing to a greater good are vital to our health and longevity. Some health experts maintain that that having a meaningful purpose in life is as important to our health as eating nutritiously and being physically active.35 Indeed, achieving purpose in life consistently predicts a lower mortality risk across the lifespan from all causes with the same benefits for younger, middle-aged and older people―employed or retired.36,37
Living a life without achieving purpose has its pitfalls and risks when it comes to your overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. Whether you think of achieving your purpose in terms of fulfilling your potential, sharing your gift, giving back or helping your fellow man, it serves you and the planet well to achieve your purpose.38,39
34 Hillman J. The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling. New York, NY: Random House; 1996.
35 Jarret P. Does your life have purpose? Berkley Wellness. May 23, 2016. http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-mind/mind-body/article/does-your-life-have-purpose. Accessed March 9, 2017.
36 Having a sense of purpose may add years to your life. Association for Psychological Science Web site. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/having-a-sense-of-purpose-in-life-may-add-years-to-your-life.html#.WN6_5VXyupq. Accessed March 8, 2017.
37 Boyle PA, Barnes LL, Buchman AS, Bennett DA. Purpose in life is associated with mortality among community-dwelling older persons. Psychosom Med. 2009;71(5):574-579.
38 Steger M, Dik BJ, Duffy D. Measuring meaningful work: The Work and Meaning Inventory (WAMI). J Career Assess. 2012;(20):239-241.
39 Rankin L. Ten signs you’ve found your calling. Lissa Rankin, MD blog. September 19, 2013.